Home > gay, Lesbian > The Sydney Morning Herald – "Family law playing catch-up with real life" by Adele Horin

The Sydney Morning Herald – "Family law playing catch-up with real life" by Adele Horin

THE law has not caught up with the reality of families like Eamon’s. The question of who is a parent in these families is a crucial issue to be resolved. The Family Law Act, for example, with its presumption of shared parental responsibility and its new emphasis on shared residence, does not apply to lesbian parents who split up. The non-biological mother has no automatic rights and does not have to pay child support.

The co-parent’s lack of legal status affects a child’s standing under a host of laws, including those governing the right to inherit if the non-biological mother dies without a will, entitlement to superannuation after her death, and her power to consent to blood transfusions.

In Western Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory the co-parent’s name is on the birth certificate, and she has the legal status of a parent. The Victorian Law Reform Commission recommended this month that the state adopt a similar approach. A bill was drawn up in NSW last year to extend similar rights to co-parents but 18 months out from an election was considered too controversial. Such changes are usually only possible in the first year of a four-year term – that is in the next eight months.
Family law playing catch-up with real life

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June 16, 2007
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THE law has not caught up with the reality of families like Eamon’s. The question of who is a parent in these families is a crucial issue to be resolved. The Family Law Act, for example, with its presumption of shared parental responsibility and its new emphasis on shared residence, does not apply to lesbian parents who split up. The non-biological mother has no automatic rights and does not have to pay child support.

The co-parent’s lack of legal status affects a child’s standing under a host of laws, including those governing the right to inherit if the non-biological mother dies without a will, entitlement to superannuation after her death, and her power to consent to blood transfusions.

In Western Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory the co-parent’s name is on the birth certificate, and she has the legal status of a parent. The Victorian Law Reform Commission recommended this month that the state adopt a similar approach. A bill was drawn up in NSW last year to extend similar rights to co-parents but 18 months out from an election was considered too controversial. Such changes are usually only possible in the first year of a four-year term – that is in the next eight months.

[Link: Original Article]

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